Direct Mail Best Practices

Meet the writer: Karen Pieper

Hi, I'm Karen! I've been in the industry for 21 years and can't wait to share my perspective on all things direct mail. I'm currently the Digital Marketing Manager at Letter Jacket Envelopes and deal with tasks from managing the website, facilitating conversations with customers, and much more!

Direct mail is no longer the humble best-kept secret of A+ marketing. It’s now commonly known to be the most consistently reliable way of reaching an audience. If you’re ready to take your business or organization to the next level, here are some of the very best practices toward an effective direct mail campaign you can be proud of.

Your Best Campaign Does Six Things

It Finds the Audience

Consider the violin player. In a matter of hours, she can make a few quick bucks and gain some attention on the sidewalks of a bustling city. The right person might see her. But if she’s looking for long-term patrons, she going to take a different tack. She’ll search for the right audiences with which to connect, depending on the music she plays and the support she needs. The first method depends on luck, the second builds reputation. As a marketer, you’re looking for folks that will know who you are, trust your work, and want to stick with you. You’re looking for patrons. General mail blasts may be quicker to put together, but they ultimately waste time and money. Decide with whom, exactly, you want to partner. Research these demographics. Carefully and creatively think about who they are, how they live, what a partnership with your organization might mean to them. And then begin reaching out.

It Learns the Tango

Let’s stick with the arts metaphor for the moment, because, from the beginning, you’ll need to start the tricky dance of follow-up. A message requires about five exposures to click with readers, but you don’t want to annoy people into automatically seeing your brand as recycle bin material. You’ve got to learn when to be bold, and when to back off and look for another potential partner. One effective way to measure this is by providing multiple easy ways for direct mail recipients to engage you (e.g., phone number, simple order form, website, online coupons), and keeping track of responses and purchases. This way you’re giving customers a chance at taking the lead in the dance. You’re getting their attention while being respectful, gaining an idea of who’s truly interested over time, and learning how those who are interested prefer to get involved. These are statistics that will boost your sales and efficiency for years to come.

It Offers a Gift

It’s so simple, but one of the best ways to solidify a relationship with a direct mail client is by offering a gift. Direct mail excels at this because your customer is not having to go somewhere to find the offer or open a link for more information. Your carefully-tailored gesture doesn’t have to make it through a spam filter. You have the opportunity to give a sample of your best services, and to unfold the offer all at once, while it’s literally in your new customer’s hands. Colorful coupons, discounts for holidays and special deals, and free shipping are all fabulous methods, and even better when offered both online and “in person” (in-store, by phone or mail).

It Gets Personal

Personalizing direct mail goes beyond inserting the name in the first line. Your first step asks, “Who exactly are my readers?” Now you can brainstorm: “What do my readers already care about? What are they into? What do they like? What would make this letter, postcard, or catalog fun for them to read?” The sky’s the limit on creative ways to pique personal interests. But if you want a place to start, consider leading with teaser copy on the envelope, or including a digitally-printed handwritten note, comments, and stories from happy clients, or a special word from the company president. And don’t underestimate the power of appealing colors and fonts to speak directly to your target audience.

It Stays Picky

Edit, edit, edit those details. Get the right color, shape, and feel to your envelopes and content, harnessing the aesthetic to maximum effect. Consider a higher quality paper with texture. Make that mail an absolute pleasure to see, open, hold, and read. Get your best copy editors on the job to make your copy, layout, and inserts absolutely correct, consistent, and worth your customer’s time. You’re wanting to start a positive, mutually beneficial relationship, not just pitch a one-time sale, and this means creating a genuine connection. Even if it costs a little more, you’re creating the feeling in the readers that they are your special clients, your top priority, and that trust is priceless. High-touch detail in your campaign will imply that when it comes to attentiveness and hospitality, your organization is a force to be reckoned with.

It Lands Brand-Forward

You’re ready to prove yourself. Now, don’t leave your reader guessing at the mailbox who you are. A customized, branded envelope puts your name and logo at the very first moment of client engagement. At the point of initial interest, before they’re even done sorting through the mail, you want your readers to know clearly who you are, and get a sense of what you want to offer. A teaser and a brand on the envelope is an introduction to your unique story and an invitation to a positive partnership. Make the most of that first moment, and you’ll be on your way.

To help you make the most of that first moment, Letter Jacket Envelopes has a great customer service team ready to connect with you, and an array of options to explore in our online catalog. Everything we offer is fully customizable. And after over 100 years of being in the envelope business, when it comes to direct mail, our number one passion is getting you noticed.

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